The Genesis of my conversion started in the University of Nsukka, I had a room mate called Chinwe, this lady loved praises, she will sing like this; *come and join me sing Halleluyah* I was always looking for a way to deal with her, one day while coming from the House fellowship, she kept her Bible on my bed and I asked who kept the Bible on my Bed, she said sorry, Binta, I carried the Bible and I tore the Bible, then I beat her. She took a piece of the Bible and cried to the heavens and called my name three times, Binta Jalingo, Binta Jalingo, Binta Jalingo, this Bible you tore, you will use it to preach the Gospel. Then I slapped her again, I said, it is your mother and your father that will preach the Gospel, she said, may the Lord have mercy on you, Binta. After seven years of the spoken words, I got converted on the 25th of September 1999. I was in the bedroom in Shehu’s palace, because I got married to the younger brother of the Shehu of Bornu. I was born into the Muri kingdom, which is mostly Fulani. My mother, Hajia Aminat Jalingo, is of the Kutep tribe. Contrary to the Islamic tradition of multiple wives, my father married and maintained only my mother. I am the fifth of nine children. My father lived in many parts of Nigeria, serving in the Army till 1996. My mother also worked with the Nigerian Medical Corps until her retirement in 1992.
I attended the Army Children School, Ikeja Cantonment, Lagos, completed my secondary education at Government Girls’ College Enugu. I studied Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN). After my studies, in 1996, I worked as Programme Producer/Director with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Yola. I got married on April 27, 1997 and God blessed us with a set of twin boys – Hassan and Hussain.
I never believed that I needed salvation for whatever reason, because every Moslem is convinced that Muhammad was the last Prophet in the long line of those that Allah had sent before. The Islamic Hadith (Mishkat) speaks of about 124,000 people who lived at various times in history. Twenty-eight of them are mentioned by name and most are found in the Bible. Since each of them was sent with a word from Allah to warn the respective people not to practice idolatry, to live righteously and to consider the coming Day of Judgement, it is perceived by Moslems that Isa (Jesus), the one to whom is given the greatest prominence in the Qur’an, was like Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses) and most others sent to the Jews. Therefore, when I heard Christians call Him, Lord, I became mad at them.
As a young girl, in the Secondary School and even as an undergraduate, I would delightfully pack copies of the Holy Bible and take them to Kaduna for destruction, I thought the Bible was demonic. Many are still doing it today, I became the Vice President of the youth wing of the Jamaatu Nasril Islam. Very often, I saw Christians happy in every situation; yet, my success at school, which gave me the job at NTA, and brightened my chances of a good husband, could not bring me such peace and happiness. Several people had talked to me about Christianity, but to me then, Muhammad was the final seal of the prophets. This was my pride as a Fulani girl who saw herself in the greatest religion of all time.
Qu’ran does not teach salvation in Jesus Christ, but it gives Him the greatest prominence. The wonderful statements in the Qu’ran are enough to compel one to search more about Him. The name Jesus (Isa) occurs about 25 times in the Qu’ran, and the title Messiah is used 93 times.
I hated anything that had to do with Christianity. I was always happy seeing a Christian unhappy and enjoyed hearing that Christians were suffering, but on the 25th of September 1999, I was caught in a web. The day before, we attended the Friday prayers and all went well. At about 1:30am suddenly, an unusually bright light appeared in the bedroom with a mighty wind blowing and throwing all the pictures and other valuables to the ground. My husband and I became afraid. He got up from bed, brought out charms, known in Hausa as “Hayaki”. He placed it on the ground, got hot charcoal and placed the charm on it, but the mighty wind threw it all down.
Before we could make out anything, a voice thundered, saying: “You have been baptized by the Holy Spirit. Go and be “Tabitha” unto my people”. I asked my husband if he could understand what the voice was saying, but he said that he did not hear any voice. He later concluded that I belonged to a secret cult, which accounted for my hearing voice that he could not hear. He thought that I wanted to sacrifice him or our set of twins. He got angry, took our twins to the guestroom and abandoned me in the bedroom. I was very worried and couldn’t sleep. In the morning, again, I heard the voice saying: “Tell your husband that you have accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour”. I said “No, I can’t. What has a Fulani got to do with Jesus Christ”, I thought that demons were after me. The thing happened again on 28th and 29th, and each time, there was an invitation to “come and serve”. So I told my husband that I would go to Church the following Sunday. “Not in this house”, he retorted, He might have received my word with shock, yet joy and peace flooded my heart at that time. I knew what I was passing through and it would be disastrous for me not to do what God would want me to do for Him.
On Saturday, after speaking to him about it, I went ahead and bought for myself the first Bible I ever bought or read in my life, and hid it under my box. The next day, Sunday, I picked up my Bible, got into my car and drove to the nearby Baptist Church.
After the service, I came back and met my husband at home. I greeted him but he asked me where I was coming from; I wanted to lie, but heard a voice saying ‘what were you taught in the church today?’ It was “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free” So, I told him that I was coming from the Church. He got up in anger, gave me a beating, snatched the Bible from me and wanted to tear it but I told him of the danger of tearing the Bible, so he stopped. He was shocked because he knew that it was my role in the past. So he dropped the Bible in anger and left till the evening. I brought out food for him as usual, but he kicked the food away and warned his sister that no one should eat the food I cooked in the house again for he had declared me an infidel and as a result, I would have nothing to do with the family, even with my own kids. The next day, he went to fetch my father from Makurdi. As I welcomed my father, he too, started beating me with his military belt and boots, until I was unconscious and was taken to the hospital where I stayed for three days. Wonderfully, on the third day, at about 2 am, the Lord appeared to me. I noticed a touch on my feet and I woke up trying to see who it was that touched me, but the face was shinning like the sun in such a way that I could not see his face. I only looked at Him from His feet to the chest. I was afraid and screamed for help. One of the nurses came, prayed with me and asked me not to be afraid again. As I said amen to her prayers, I began to speak in tongues for about three hours. I was saying things they could not understand. Some of them thought I was mad but a psychiatric doctor who was called in, confirmed that I was normal.
The figure appeared again. This time He said unto me, “Be bold, for this is temporary: you will overcome the temptation”. The fourth day, I was discharged from the hospital. On getting home, my husband gave me a divorce letter, which I collected with joy and told him. ‘I am married to Jesus.’
After that, I packed my things, including my two cars, kept them in someone’s house and travelled to Lagos. My husband took my twins to Saudi Arabia. Not done yet, my father had the man that I had kept my belongings in his house arrested on the grounds that he had abducted me from my husband’s house. On hearing that, I returned to Jalingo and arranged his release. Then, my father collected my cars and other belongings claiming that he bought them for me as wedding presents.
In trying to make me renounce my faith in Christ, the Management of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Yola, had my appointment terminated, under pressure from my husband. My father and some Islamic fanatics took me to one Alhaji’s house in Jalingo and there chained my feet and my hands. After seven days, I was released, with a threat of death, if I went to Church again.
My mother arranged for my uncle, her elder brother to reconcile my father and me. As we went talking, my father got angry, picked up his gun and shot at me. As God would have it, the little movement I made at the sight of a gun overturned the seat where I was sitting and I was pushed to the ground. The gun sounded but the bullets did not enter me but passed through the chair and to the wall. Everybody was alarmed, my mother started weeping that he had killed her only daughter. Later, my mother advised me to go and stay with her elder brother. Being a moslem, he too was unhappy with me and made life difficult. Once, he threatened to kill me with a cutlass so I left his house for Lagos and later, Maiduguri.
I was denied my rights in the family; my father had me thrown into prison on false allegation. He had initially gone to a Sharia court but I protested against that since I am now a Christian. So, he took me to a Magistrate court at Hadeja. The Magistrate ordered that I be remanded in prison for calling my father, my neighbour. I was in detention for six months without trial and bail until some Christians on prison visitation, learnt that I was there for becoming a Christian. The matter was reported to the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman who wrote a petition that led to my proper trial. The Magistrate sentenced me to two years imprisonment plus a fine of five thousand Naira. One Christian Women Fellowship in the area paid the fine while I was taken to prison. That was September 5, 2000. Some inmates asked me to appeal but I told them, confidently, that the Lord Jesus would do a great Appeal for me. At midnight, I prayed: ‘Lord, I want you to deliver me from this prison before December. If you don’t, the people will ask me, where is your God?’ I reminded him of how He answered Hezekiah. On October 2, 2000, less than a month after my imprisonment, a letter came from Abuja ordering my release and I was set free. My prison experiences brought me closer to God that I developed more faith in God’s ability to see me through.
After two months, I decided to go and share the Lord Jesus with my grandparents. The moslem youths were looking for me everywhere, to kill me. They hid me until I couldn’t be hidden. I fled to the bush for four days. On the fourth night, I woke up with a snake beside me. That day, I told God that I wanted to go back to Islam. I couldn’t continue like that in the bush but He quickly reprimanded me. He asked “Upon all the sufferings you’ve been through, you still want to go back? If I didn’t shut the mouth of the snake, wouldn’t it bite you while you slept? I repented and told him that I was sorry; I will never go back to Egypt”.
I found out that God actually took me to prison to teach me some things. One was to read the Bible and two, because of a female Christian warder who left and married a Moslem and God shut her womb. In the prison, God told me in a dream that she was going to have a baby. When I told her, she became angry, tortured me, called me names, but I kept praying for her, that the name of the Lord be glorified since I had said the Lord told me. Later, she actually had the baby, and that converted her and her husband. Eight moslems in the prison gave their lives to Christ. They were baptized in the Holy Ghost before I left. Seeing what the Lord used me to do in the prison, I knew that I would do better outside. One day, some moslem youths came and kidnapped me. They laid me on the ground, raised their cutlasses to kill me but their hands remained hanging in the air. That happened to three of them and the others fled. They were later taken to the police who wanted them killed but I told them it was the Lord’s battle not theirs. I told them that I had forgiven them. As I was leaving, they asked for their hands to be restored. I said “In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, let your hands come down” and their cutlasses dropped. Today, they are Christians and live with me. On another occasion, another group of moslem youths kidnapped me. They were taking me to Sokoto. On the way, scorpions emerged and started to sting them. They dropped me, begged me and even gave me money to take me back home. Yet on another occasion, they kidnapped me and wanted to inject me with poisonous material but they couldn’t find those materials and had to let me go.
The Bible says we must start from our Jerusalem. Moslems and Fulanis are my Jerusalem. Many of them live in ignorance, not having heard of Jesus till today. And if I am one of the fortunate ones that God brought out, I need to go out and say something to them. That is why I say I would fight the cause with my blood. I am not limiting myself to Nigeria; I intend to go to the Middle East, planting a church in Saudi Arabia where my children are. I tell God that my children in Saudi Arabia are Ambassadors of Christ and they must become Pastors in Saudi Arabia.
So, any time I hear a moslem is converted somewhere and is persecuted, I take them in. I have forty-nine under my roof right now. They call me “mama”. The oldest is eighty-nine years. She became a Christian and her children threw her from upstairs to die, but God preserved her. A Pastor found her and brought her to the centre. Some come with their ears cut off, others are stripped naked etc. I pray for people to join me in this crusade. Thank God. He is raising men among the coverts in the centre and in my family.
My immediate elder brother who is a soldier has become a Christian. My mother became a Christian since 2002. My elder brothers who wanted me dead or back to Islam are now Christians. One of them, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Maiduguri had to relocate to Imo State because of persecution.
I testify that Jesus is Lord. Some people came to attack us. The first time they came, they saw a pool of blood: the house became a pool of blood. The second time they came, the house became plain land. The third time, they saw ocean. The last time, the house became a pillar of fire. Sometime later, something happened that led to their arrest and the Commissioner of Police sent for me. On getting there, the police brought the criminals who said that I didn’t know them but they knew me. They were all Moslems, some of them from Republic of Niger. They then narrated how they had to attack me, but I was delivered by the Lord. That day, the Commissioner of Police lined up his men in the office and asked me to pray for them.
Instead of leaving me alone, my former husband began to persecute me. While leading some assassins to my place to kill me, the vehicle in which they were travelling was involved in an accident. He, alone died in the hospital after confessing that he wanted me dead for I was bringing shame to his name. It pains me because both of us were in the same room the day I heard the voice. After that I prevented him from destroying a copy of the Bible, something I used to enjoy doing. He knew how violent I was, destroying Christendom. He should have learnt a lesson from my conversion and repented. That is how many others die without repentance even though they are exposed to the gospel. The good Lord who is always my Shield and Protector will always save and hide me in His shadow. My life is in God’s hand.”
Binta Faruk Jalingo was a staff of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Yola. She runs Tabitha Evangelistic Ministry, a home for the persecuted (Converted Muslims) in Miango, Jos Plateau State, Nigeria.